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522689_10151558121041081_970092729_nThis blog is officially closing at the end of March, 2013.

For the past year, I’ve been running duplicate blogs while the Raven Essence website was overhauled. Finally (fingers crossed!) almost all the glitches are worked out.

If you are subscribed to receive notification whenever a new blog is posted and would like to remain connected, please sign up again on the new Raven Essence website. I don’t want to lose touch with you, however I cannot transfer your blog subscription for you!

Thank you, all, for your generous time in reading my blogs. You prompted me to keep writing from my heart and your comments frequently generated rich conversation and a delightful sense of community.

I look forward to continuing these discussions with you on the new Raven Essence blog.

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Blooming Essence

In preparation for my presentation Restoring the Feminine — Nature’s Forgotten Frequencies in Richmond Hill on February 6th,  I’m gathering some video resources related to nature, flower essences, sound, and vibrational healing as expressions of the sacred feminine. I thought others may enjoy this interesting data…

tumblr_lixcmor4F81qb44ueMasuro Emoto’s work with photographing frozen water crystals has gained considerable interest in past years. I find it very affirming that the water that has been exposed to flowers tends to reveal distinct floral mandala patterns mimicking the actual flower. His research about water’s ability to ‘remember’ what it has been exposed to — a word, a prayer, music, essential oils etc., is a powerful affirmation for the simple process of creating flower essences.

Similar research at an aerospace institute in Stuttgart, Germany, demonstrates the visible imprint flowers leave upon water molecules and the remarkably distinctive patterns of different individuals’ energies. It’s wonderful to be able to see the energy of an essence!

Stuart Mitchell, a Scottish composer, creator of the Human Genome Music Project, uses his musical skills to translate the DNA codes of plants into musical sequences. He also creates music from a person’s DNA, allowing you to hear your own song. (This has some resonance with the piano improvisations I’m creating called Soul Lullabies though I’m using my intuition rather than DNA samples!)

sci_cymatics1Cymatics is the study of sound frequencies upon matter. Hans Jenny was one of the prime researchers of this work in the 1960’s. Several youtube videos illustrate the astonishing ‘dancing’ patterns created when very fine particles of sand or lycopodium are exposed to different sounds, varying from the very low Tibetan chant-like sounds to extremely high-pitched ones hardly audible to the human ear.

in 2007, I was invited to give a presentation at the Spirituality in Healthcare Network in Toronto. I prepared a powerpoint presentation  called A Love Affair with Nature, which explores the important distinction between two aspects of ‘light’ — lumen dei, the light that comes from a disembodied expression of spirit, and lumen natura, the radiant light contained within all matter. Though I wish I had created the presentation with music, the text by Sufi mystic, Llewellyn Vaughn Lee and Jungian therapist, Robert Romanyshyn, still conveys the heart of my working relationship with nature.

210215953_453_detailA wonderful 10-minute video by Llewellyn Vaughn Leeexplores the inherent wisdom of the feminine and our role in shaping Indra’s Web. He also tells a fascinating story about cats, witches, and the plague! I share this clip with many of the women who come for a private retreat as it is one of the most compelling invitations for us to stand in the fullness of our beauty and power as women.

If there is sufficient time, I would also like to conclude the evening’s presentation with the 2013 Meditation movie  — a simple, gentle message from nature for these changing times.

Women Writing their Stories

book-cover-smallFeminine consciousness is concerned with process…


I’m often moved when women open their hearts and share stories. When a woman’s story resonates with my own experience, I feel affirmed; when she has struggled with something I’ve never encountered, I’m inspired and challenged to view my own world in a new way.

I had this latter experience recently reading Nancy Thurston’s autobiography: Big Topics at Midnight, A Texas Girl Wakes up to Race, Class, Gender and Herself. Nancy is a client living in Portland, Oregon, and though we’ve never met in person, I had got to know her at a soul level through our sessions. Still, I had little idea about the details of her past so when I picked up her recently published book, I felt like I was being introduced to a near-stranger.

The more I read, the more I grew to respect this privileged young woman who was seriously in love with Jesus, and very much a good girl living on the straight and narrow. At first I wasn’t sure I could relate, but as the story unfolded, and she let me into her questions and struggles, I began to feel the resonance with my own questioning.

The issues Nancy tackles in this book are Texan-big. She looks at her wealth, her traditional Christian values, her family’s relationship to slavery, her assumptions about gender… each question prompting a crisis of faith while opening her to a more expansive life and inner freedom. Through all this, she tackles her internalized patriarchy with complete honesty, always turning the mirror back on herself while also looking squarely at the world around her. She doesn’t provide answers for society but neither does she avoid the necessity to get out into the world and work with various groups and organizations.

nancy-potrait-1We hardly ever hear women talk about money. It’s often a taboo subject, particularly when they have more than others yet Nancy shares her challenging dialogues with her husband about their finances with complete candor, and I find this immensely freshing. I sense it might have been easier to just ‘give it all away’ and be done with it, but instead she struggled with her feelings, listened for inner guidance, and stayed in the difficult conversations with various people, thus letting this side of her feminine power mature.

When women write about themselves, they tend to share their vulnerability, and perhaps one of the places we are most exposed is in our spirituality and our personal relationship with God. Again Nancy does not shy away from this conversation. With considerable soul-searching, she left her church when she could no longer agree with their patriotic flag-waving displays after 9-11.

Healing depends on listening with the inner ear…

The book is full of synchronicities and delightful pilgrimages to places in her past. One unusual device she uses throughout the book is conversations and vignettes with ancestors on her feminine family tree. With intuition and imagination (as well as photos and anecdotes) Nancy connects with men and women from decades past, pulling their voices forward into her rich life-tapestry now. This whimsical device could be risky, yet I appreciated it as a more feminine and holistic approach for Nancy to see her life in this larger family context.

Any good memoir invites us to reflect on our own lives and after devouring Nancy’s book I came away with questions of my own. What are the big issues that I have struggled with throughout my life?

How does my story fit within the larger societal fabric?

What have I learned through my personal struggles that may be a gift to others?

OTHER MEMOIRS:

The emergence of feminine consciousness is bringing with it a social upheaval that is like a great dyke giving way…

dancing flames Marion woodman 1

As a Jungian analyst, Marion Woodman pioneered new insights into feminine psychology and inspired many women through her Body-Soul Intensives. (The quotes I’ve used throughout this blog are Marion’s writings from The Pregnant Virgin.) Her memoir, Bone Dying into Life, is a gripping tale of her encounter with uterine cancer. Her journal outlines how she surrendered to the process, trusting her deep body-soul connection with Sophia, the Great Mother.  Through excruciating medical procedures, she courageously continued reach for meaning and beauty in her life. Bone is an inspiration to anyone facing serious illness and seeking to be fully engaged and conscious in the process.

Another client of mine, Katrina BosUnknown-1wrote an inspiring personal account of her own bout of breast cancer and the inner growth this prompted. What if You Could Skip the Cancer? is not a glib or cheery self-help book. It is an honest account of Katrina’s journey, and that is what makes it compelling. She does not tell you to ‘do it her way’, instead she challenges us to be fully present to the difficulties in our own lives.

Jane Fonda’s popular autobiography, My Life So Far, details her struggles to find herself behind the celebrity veneer, while Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter, is a tale of radical breakthrough from a constricting Christian ethos into a more vibrant feminine spirituality that honours her body and soul.

The mature feminine will not tolerate the demands and projections of the patriarchy…

Women’s memoirs tend to be bone-honest. When women speak up in a safe setting, their intimate stories often resonate with everyone present in the room, and the details of their lives feel less important than their heart and soul-journeys. It is each woman’s courage, integrity, honesty, and willingness to be raw and fully open to life that inspires others..

All the books I mention here (and there are many more) rarely preach or offer cliched solutions. Instead, they invite us into an inner sanctum where pain and healing, love and loss, fear and joy dance together, fuelling the fires of transformation.

Please add your own inspiring memoirs to this conversation. We need many, many stories to guide us as we leave the patriarchy…

P.S. On June 13th, Nancy Thurston will be giving a reading of Big Topics at Midnight at Wonderworks in Toronto.

Around Halloween, I felt nudged to create the New Year essence for 2013.

I always approach this annual task with some trepidation. Will I be able to capture the pulse of this particular time? Given the intense focus on the end of the Mayan calendar (on December 21, 2012), I felt even more nervous about the process this year.

The process of creating the essence

To prepare myself and open to the universal energies that are shifting at this time, I pulled a Tarot card (from the Thoth deck) and threw an I Ching spread.

Their differing messages created a paradox. The 3 of cups (shown here) is a picture of beauty, abundance, and fertility. Meanwhile “Calculated Waiting,” the message of the I Ching, was distinctly cautionary. “Many areas are undergoing significant change; any action would be foolish overreaction…

What was the universe saying through these apparently conflicting messages?

Then I turned to the essences themselves, centering and grounding myself before testing for the combination.

There are nine essences in this year’s combination — six single flower essences and three combinations. What is nature’s hidden story? I wondered.

Working with the Raven Essence system for nearly 18 years, I’ve learned to trust the inner story revealed within the complex combinations. As I decode the messages through each new combination, I often sense nature whispering her secrets of loving wisdom.

This time was no different. The message was clear — and it did not contradict either message from the divinatory tools I’d used before.

What I learned about 2013 through the essence

2013 is both a time of abundance and of caution.

How we proceed is best described in the a few of the words from the Giant Milkweed essence, the central energy in the combination: When fear prevents easy movement, the essence offers a quality of maternal support to help us take baby steps out into the world.

Positioning Radiance, the pivotal essence in the Destiny kit, focuses on the importance of the present moment: Use the essence to stabilize yourself before moving forward. This moment, only this moment, is full of all grace.

Many flowers in the combination (Phlox, Gloxinia, Bridalwreath Spirea and White Climber) affirmed, as they often do, the heart-elements of hope, freedom, and new possibilities. Meanwhile, Immunization Toxicity pointed to culturally accepted belief systems, dogmatic spiritual practices, environmental pesticides that were created with good intention but imposed upon the population.

I realized the 2013 combination embraced everything, the challenges we face and the beauty that is still abundantly present to us.

Star of Bethlehem helps us unite these disparate elements by healing inner splits within the psyche. In the wake of a divisive US election, it seems important not to fall into the trap of viewing the world in simplistic terms, good and bad, right and wrong, them and us.

In the midst of all this, the surprising and most delightful element was an essence made for Diane Brown, a colleague who has created the Belstar labyrinth. This essence is not published yet but it speaks most poignantly to the larger picture, a vision of wholeness that we are being called to embrace in 2013.

An excerpt from her essence, Restoring the Earth’s Song: The restoration of the Earth’s song is parallel to the discovery of our creative expression of Love. Restoring the Earth’s Song tunes the body for an experience of Love that is deeply in communion with the earth and fully alive in our bodies... As new songs of Love dance between heaven and earth through our hearts, we are able to name and follow our dreams, thereby truly fulfilling our destiny. Activating our co-creative magicianship invites all the elements on this beautiful planet to participate with us in their own natural fulfillment.

There it was, a banquet of nature’s wisdom laid out before me — a call to action, and a prayer for peace.

Now my work was to shape this into new language, the definition for the New Year 2013 essence. (To read the complete definition, click here.)

Creating a Visual Meditation

Once the definition was complete, and while I was still in the creative energy of the process, I began making the power-point slideshow.

Ever since 2008, I’ve created slideshows to illustrate each Annual Essence. I love combining words with evocative images. (That’s also why I like writing blogs!)

Searching the web and my own stash of wonderful images, I found the ones that resonated with the feeling-tone of nature’s story. Hours flew by as the images landed, in sync with the words and making them more vivid. Gradually, the fluid through-line of the story became ever more apparent. And when it was all done, my legs stiff and my shoulders in knots, I went to bed exhausted, but very content.

I trust you enjoy the final product, a silent, visual meditation that invites you to breathe with what is happening, both within your own heart and the world’s soul.

To view the six-minute slideshow, click here.

The Significance of the Mayan Calendar

In the booklet accompanying the essence, I included a brief overview of the astronomical significance of this Winter Solstice from the Mayan perspective.

Many prophecies around the 2012 Winter Solstice stem from the end date of the Long Count Calendar created thousands of years ago by the Mayan peoples. Viewing time as cyclical rather than linear, their astonishingly precise knowledge came from keen astronomical observation and shamanic experiences.

We are entering a rare astronomical alignment, an event that occurs only once every 26,000 years as our solar system passes through the Galactic Center of the Milky Way on this year’s winter solstice. To the Mayans, this cosmological event marks a period of rebirth, the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new era. Not a message of doom, they anticipated profoundly transformative possibilities for individuals and civilizations.

The Mayan’s rich heritage of images and mythology encourages us to play our co-creative role in the great cycle of creation. In their view, the Milky Way’s Galactic Center represents the birth canal of the Great Mother while another image of a snake’s head devouring the sun warns this can also be a dangerous time if we are not awake and aligned with life.

The 2013 Essence Definition

Chaos theory recognizes that when a living system is out of balance, as our world is now, the system is actually attempting to self-organize into a new, more complex structure. Yet how do we participate in such a dynamic process when everything we know is breaking down or changing?

The new Year 2013 essence focuses on two key elements — the power of our conscious loving and our ability to listen to the song within our hearts.

Like a mother with a newborn babe, our loving presence in each moment is everything — protection and sustenance in a field of love where the babe is free to grow gracefully and true to form.

The other element is focused listening. As a musician turns toward a melody others may not hear, attending to our own heart-song guides us with joyful freedom into the new dance.

When everything is shifting in the swirling chaos, these gently focused acts of listening and loving, in every challenging moment, hold us steady and keep us free. Conscious of our destiny, we fix our choice upon being Love rather than seeking attention. Aware of our role as co-creators, we let ourselves be tuned by Love’s frequencies rather than reacting to the world’s polluted noise.

As Love holds and guides us through these dynamic times, we walk the path of beauty’s abundance in harmony with all creation, and our radiant, aching planet is blessed.

These are several images from fifty images in a Meditation on the 2013 Essence on Youtube. Click hereto view the six-minute slideshow. To purchase the New Year 2013 essence, ($16 plus tax and shipping) contact Andrea: info@ravenessences.com or 905-832-8245.

A blog about the creative process of making the Annual Essence.